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4G availability continues to improve across UK mobile networks

Thursday, September 28th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Three of the UK’s four mobile networks delivers a 4G signal to its users more than 70% of the time, a new report shows.

OpenSignal, which uses crowdsourced data from its mobile app, said all four operators had improved in terms of how often users can access a 4G network.

EE leads in this respect, with its customers able to get a 4G signal 78% of the time.

O2 and Vodafone are close behind on 74% and 71% respectively. Three trails its rivals with 57% availability.

“The UK still doesn’t have the 4G ubiquity of a South Korea or a Netherlands,” OpenSignal said in its report.

“But it’s certainly far easier to find an LTE signal in the UK today than it was a year ago.”

OpenSignal’s UK Mobile Networks Update shows that EE’s average download speed on 4G has fallen from 31.8Mbps to 29Mbps, but is still more than 6Mbps faster than its nearest rival, Three.

The report, which uses data from 51,944 devices over June, July and August, also reveals that although Three remains somewhat reliant on its 3G service, it no can longer claim to have the quickest 3G speeds outright.

OpenSignal found that it tied with EE, with both operators averaging 3G downloads at just over 6Mbps.

For the first time, OpenSignal has also included data on each provider’s peak speed in its report.

“While OpenSignal's 4G speed metric measures our user’s typical everyday experience, peak speed measures 4G connections at their best – when devices are able to access the full capacity of the network unfettered by congestion or other technical limitations,” OpenSignal’s Kevin Fitchard said in a blog.

“We calculate average peak speed by examining only the fastest tests we collect from our user community to ensure we're identifying only the most optimised network connections.”

EE has the fastest peak speeds according to the test, a speed of 136.1Mbps showing the power and capacity of its 4G network.

Vodafone is second with an average peak speed of 113.3Mbps. Three is third on 94.1Mbps and O2 fourth on 69.6Mbps.

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